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Dodgers: MLB Analyst Dumbfounded LA Didn’t Start Buehler in Game 2

Did the Dodgers make a mistake in not starting their ace on 3 days rest?



Hindsight is always 20/20, but no one could have predicted what happened on Wednesday night between the Dodgers and Rays.

Against one of the worst fastball hitting teams, the power arms of Gonsolin and May could not put batters away and it ended up costing the Dodgers in a 6-4 loss that tied the series at 1.

With the depth that the Dodgers have, you have to wonder if the results would have been any different if they went with their ace in Walker Buehler, even on short rest, for Game 2.

After the game, the FOX analyst crew set to work dissecting the game plan for each team and one topic that they focused heavily on was the lack of a knockout punch from the Dodgers.

David Ortiz explains the importance of having that killer mentality in the World Series.

The mentality when you go to the World Series is to finish the opposition up the best way you can. The Dodgers forgot that they were facing an ace, and when you have an ace on your opposition, you want to have an ace on your mound.

Big Papi does make a good point in that the Dodgers knew they were entering a potentially low scoring affair, but there’s more to the argument than just that. Is it fair to judge the Dodgers for not pitching Buehler on 3 days rest when he’s dealing with the lingering blister issue? How about the fact that by saving him for Game 3 they were able to buy him an extra day of rest with an off day on Thursday?

The Dodgers are definitely playing with a conservative approach to try and keep their pitchers as fresh as possible, but Ortiz makes another good point by acknowledging that the playoffs aren’t the time to play games.

.. In the World Series, Frank, you want to attack. You don’t want to be thinking about what’s going to happen the next day, no. You want to be thinking about what’s going to happen today. That’s the only way you get there.

The Dodgers had the opportunity to take an overwhelming 2-0 series lead on the Rays, but they couldn’t capitalize with their bullpen going against a lights-out Blake Snell. Had Buehler pitched instead, we might have a different series, but the keyword is MIGHT.

Final Thoughts

Because of the nature of the playoffs this year, the Dodgers did not have the usual off days in between series to set up their pitching rotation like they would’ve liked. At the end of the day, however, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin have both been trusted members of this rotation and were more than capable of dominating this Rays offense. They simply didn’t have it, and there wasn’t much Dave Roberts could do but turn to the next man up.

With the series tied at 1 game apiece, the Dodgers will look to Buehler to help them rebound in a critical Game 3 tomorrow night. It won’t be an easy task, as Charlie Morton has been absolutely unhittable thus far in the postseason.

If the Dodgers are to avoid a 2-1 hole, the offense will need to get going much earlier and provide a cushion for Buehler to let loose.

Written by Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!

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  1. Easy to say this in hindsight, but if Buehler lost last night, who would they have to face Morton? On the other hand, we need to be ready for a Game 7, if it comes to that, so keeping pitchers rested will ultimately help.

    • I fear Morton the most so I think that’s the appropriate game to pitch Buehler. May and Gonsolin not being able to have 2 clean innings in their games is the problem but at least the next 3 games we don’t have to worry as we got Buehler Kershaw and Urias

  2. Hindsight, yes. But how does a team with a $200 million budget end up throwing a bullpen game in the second game of the World Series? And – since this is becoming a trend – maybe we need to quit putting May and Gonsolin in “failure” situations. These guys are supposed to be the “future” of the rotation, right? They need to start, not bullpen or eat innings.

    • I am going to say what I honestly believe. The fix is in. Have you seen Buehler’s index finger up close? It is mangled. I’m surprised he has pitched as good as he has.

      • The fix is in for who? Are you saying they wanted a tied series so we can win the next 3 the right way?

  3. Buehler on 3 days rest was a risk not worth taking.
    Following todays off-day, we can go with Buehler, Urias, then Kershaw. All well rested and favored to win. Another three in a row?

    • That sound like a damn good idea!!!! Let’s hope they do it again but the game last night with the two rookies was a disappointment because they’re not ready for this type of games and besides they screwed up in the NLCS too!!! The Dodgers need to have more experience pitchers than Kershaw and Buehler…I just hope Roberts leaves those kids in the bullpen until next year!!!!

    • Here’s hoping the rotation is set and ready to go. I still am not that keen on BP games, although I am willing to let the circumstances dictate. Good comment, William. Go Blue!!!

  4. Yes…hindsight is always better. But, if Kike turns that double play, and those two runs don’t score…maybe this is a different conversation. I believe that defense has to help pitchers out as well. That error led to two runs.

  5. Plain and simple… a Robert screw up.. nothing more..why the Dodger are at a big disadvantage.. Roberts has shown over and over.. if it can be screwed up..he will find away…I have said for 2 years now.. he should go…

    • It was a smart decision by Roberts. Starting a pitcher on short rest in the playoffs is for the stupid or desperate. The Dodgers are neither of those.

  6. Youth, when discussing our starting pitching, is the key to our successful future going forward next year. We will have Price and Nelson to add next year, but inserting them into our starting rotation will be a mistake in my humble opinion. We drafted enough young arms this year to fill out the rotation. We will have Gray, Miller, Beeter, White, Knack, Carillo, Grove, Williams, Ortiz, and Pepiot to choose from. I’d like to see Floro, Wood, Nelson, and Price gone next year (hopefully traded for prospects). A new bullpen is an issue for a new thread.

  7. Starting pitching was bit of question from the beginning. I concur on point made by rainbirdmuse about a payroll of about $200 million and yet had to have a BP game in game 2 of tjis WS all because no rested starting pitching available. But guess what folks. As I said before the team most likely won’t win if the hitters strike out 15 times thereby leaving runners stranded. And another issue I mentioned is how our pitching just cannot keep the other team in the yard in October. Look at past Octobers to know what I mean by this.

    • Yes, exactly. We can bitch and moan about starting pitching, bullpen, on and on but the fact of the matter is hitting scores runs, period! The WS is not going to be won by depending on the long ball. Just hit the damn ball!!

    • Azul, as always, you have hit the nail on the head. Our strikeouts are excessive!!!! What more can I say? The other issue bothers me more and that is the BP game. When you are spending this much money to field a team, you should make sure there are three quality starting pitchers. May and Gonsolin will mature into fine pitchers (I hope), but at this juncture of their careers, they look “lost in space”, and are out matched. Buehler should have pitched Wednesday, and then Kershaw on Friday. Follow that with Urias. We are going to win this thing come hell or high water. Go Blue!!!

      • Right on, BLUE LOU! May and Gonsolin are not quite ready for these big stages, as they struggled noticeably in the NLCS as well. Honestly, the team striking out Like they did and have done is concerning because one could imagine our position in this WS might be if Dodgers had at least cut those K’s in half. Rays have great pitching AND have hit 27 HRs so far in this post season. So if Dodgers want a legit chance at finally getting the ring, the pitchers just might make a more valiant effort to keep the Rays in the yard as well.

        • You have made a very telling point, Paul : if the Dodgers had cut their strikeout rate by half in Game 2, we just might be 2-0 in games rather than 1-1. One of the writers on this blog brought up another interesting point that we overlooked. During the second game (I believe), the cameraman showed a zoom in on Buehler’s pitching hand, and that blister does not look good. Lets hope this issue remedies itself a bit more before he pitches again this weekend.
          Go Blue!!!!!

  8. If it was going to be a bullpen game, why not start and see how many innings we could get from Alex Wood, who has the experience of pitching in a WS? And a winning pitcher at that in game 4 bs the Cheaters back in 2017. Too much pressure for the kids. Hope last night doesn’t come back the haunt the front office, who makes that call.

  9. Why a bullpen game? They pulled Gonsolin way too quickly after only 1.1 inning. Yeah he gave up a run on 1 hit and one walk but give him a chance to settle down. Roberts again thinks he’s a genius at using his pitchers. NOT!!! Another Roberts lost. Will this be another lost WS because of his dumb moves(or Friedmans)?

    • That’s been a hot topic of sorts about these pitching decisions coming solely from the FO. And truth be told the FO would simply say they are Robert’s pitching calls but I am not fully sold on that one either. But as was mentioned. Dodgers used Gonsolin and or May cause there was no other starting pitcher available on normal rest. That’s on the FO who make those roster excision. Better hope Buehler then Urias can give the Dodgers some length or things just might go south in a hurry.

  10. All the players love Roberts, but we’ve seen this movie too many times before. He is setting the new “Bums” up to lose again in the WS. It’ll probably come down to false confidence in Jansen somewhere along the line. Why can’t Big Blue get a killer instinct? Must be too much California Dreamin’!

    • A. Mitchell, you raise an interesting point – Robert’s relationship with his players. Frankly, I admire Roberts because he has the ability to bring together a group of multi-millionaires and turn them into a functioning, winning unit. That is not easy!!! I think Jansen will be on a short leash for the rest of the series, and will be used in only select situations, not necessarily high-leverage ones. Go Blue!!!

  11. I agree, why not Buehler? And what the H was that with Gonsolin? Why did he pull him so quickly? I was totally surprised. Just give the guy a chance to get better man. And then he uses the bullpen that didn’t show much either.

    • Ruben, I think both you and Pauldodgerfan1965 are absolutely correct re Gonsolin. Pulling TG after slightly more than one inning is not going to help his confidence, or endear him to his teammates. Same with May!!! Considering Robert’s past handling of his pitchers, who he left in way too long, it appears we are going in the totally opposite direction. Lets hope Roberts seeks a greater balance between pulling someone quickly and not giving them the quick hook. Go Blue!!!!

  12. I’m with the Dodgers in not going with Buehler in game 2. There are factors in that decision that only they are aware of. They don’t need to sweep, they need to win. And, since when is a 2-0 lead in a seven game series “overwhelming”?

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